Maria de Villota has her eyes firmly set on being the first female racing driver to gain a permanent role with a Formula 1 team since Giovanna Amati’s ill-fated outing in 1992, after the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio had her first F1 outing over the weekend.
The 31-year-old Spaniard made her F1 test debut in a two-year-old Renault R29 last weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit, an opportunity which her native AS newspaper claims will be the “beginning of a journey that could take Maria to the Grands Prix”.
De Villota became the first woman to sample F1 machinery since Katherine Legge’s one-off outing during Minardi’s last ever F1 test at Vallelunga in 2005.
De Villota completed a total of 180 miles of running in the R29, with her lap times described as “very reasonable” by Renault team boss Eric Boullier, who praised her mistake-free driving.
“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor racing and has always been a dream for me,” she beamed after the test.
“As a female driver, I was very happy to get the opportunity to drive in a Formula 1 car,” she added. “The running went very well, conditions were ideal, and the team made me feel at ease straight away.
“It did not take too long to get used to the car and, after I felt comfortable with it, I was able to start pushing and, as a result, really enjoyed the experience.”
And as for the longer term goal of making it into Formula 1, she’s certainly not ruling it out.
“We are working on it already. It will not be overnight, but we have to do it soon,” she said.
[Image via PitPass]
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